Erdogan’s summit with Biden clouded by bitter disputes

ANKARA, June 12, 2021: President Tayyip Erdogan holds his first meeting with President Joe Biden next week overshadowed by bitter disputes and by the new U.S. president’s cool tone towards Turkey.

After an awkward phone call in April, Erdogan had to wait three months after Biden’s inauguration, when Biden said he was acknowledging the 1915 Armenian massacre in which Turkey now witnessed a genocide and Ankara. Giving. For the Turkish president, who has relied on close personal ties with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump to end the crisis, the White House’s new approach – more delicate and more distant – has been disappointing.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting in Brussels, Erdogan said he would focus on the dispute over the purchase of Russian weapons by NATO member Turkey for US support for Syrian fighters considered terrorists by Turkey. Relations with the White House have been strained more than any US president.

“We will of course ask him why U.S.-Turkey relations are at a tense stage,” Erdogan told an interviewer in early June, saying he worked with three previous presidents and “did not experience such a tension with them”.

Turkey must buy Russian S-400 air defense batteries to top the list of differences during its talks on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Washington says it will compromise its defense if the S-400 is deployed alongside US stealth F-35 jets. It has removed Turkey from the F-35 program, revoked Ankara’s order for 100 aircraft and tried to replace Turkish jet parts companies.

Turkey wants more than $1 Billion in compensation. The United States has also given approval to Turkish defense industry officials regarding the S-400 deal. Rejecting US concerns, Turkish officials said they would keep the goods and called for a joint investigation into the matter. A senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “It is not possible to take a step back on issues that are Turkey’s national security issues.”

Although the two sides are continuing talks, progress is unlikely. “Turkey wants to talk about how it can use the S-400, while the Americans want to talk about how Turkey can get rid of the S-400, which means That there is no common ground for negotiations. ” Research group in Ankara says.

The Biden administration has sharply criticized Turkey’s human rights record, demanding the release of businessman Usman Kavala, who was detained for three years during a trial in connection with anti-government protests in 2013. The controversy has been muted in response to Erdogan, who is generally ridiculed, in part because he is anxious to attract US investment and help rebuild economic growth, which the global COVID 19. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during this time.

One area where Erdogan hoped to play a central Turkish role in the NATO alliance was in Afghanistan, where Turkey, after the US withdrawal from NATO, secured Kabul Airport to secure access to the country And offered to run them. The plan could be challenged by the Taliban, who say after two decades of fighting Western-led troops, Turkey must leave with other NATO troops.

“At best, cooperation on Afghanistan can help maintain the illusion of a positive agenda,” said Nicholas Danforth, of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, saying it would help their “dysfunctional relationship” muddle on.

Still, there are areas of common ground including efforts to reach a political solution in Libya and opposition to President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The Turkish lira firmed on Friday on hopes of progress at the talks, where Ankara will propose reviving several joint dialogue groups with Washington.

“Why shouldn’t a nice period with Biden start at the NATO summit?” said a senior official at Turkey’s presidency. “Will it be an easy meeting? Not very much, but nobody is without hope either.”

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